UV Eye Safety: It’s important all year
We are all familiar with the risks of skin damage from the sun and tanning beds. However, our eyes can have damage from the sun’s UV rays, as well.
Common eye problems from the sun are UV keratitis, cataracts and macular degeneration. Your best defense against UV eye damage is taking precautions when you are outside.
Sunglasses and even clear glasses have 100% UVA and B protection options that you want to be sure you have on your lenses. You can also wear a wide brimmed hat to help shade your eyes.
There are many jobs that require eye protection due to UV exposure. These protections are very important to be sure your eyes are protected while on the job.
UV keratitis is similar to a sunburn for your eyes. The corneas are the clear outer area in front of your pupil. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause it to become inflamed or burned.
Your eyes can tear, become painful or red and even become sensitive to light. Symptoms range and can last 6-24 hours long, but should be gone by 48 hours.Often removing contact lenses and a cold cloth will help lessen the symptoms.
If symptoms persist beyond 2 days, call your doctor. Cataracts happen when your eye lens becomes cloudy. You will notice vision changes and clarity isn’t as sharp.
People over the age of 50 typically are at greater risk of cataracts from prolonged UV exposure. A common outpatient procedure can be done to fix the problem. Macular degeneration can happen due to many factors and prolonged UV exposure is one of them.
Often it is an age related issue as well. Symptoms are typically visual disturbances such as straight lines looking like they are wavy, or blurry or dimmed vision.
There are some treatment options available including laser therapy, if your eye doctor diagnoses you with macular degeneration.
As always, be sure to call your eye doctor when you experience any problems with your eyes or you have any questions.
We long for bright sunny days to spend as much time as we can outside. Remember to be smart about wearing protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
We also need to remember that the UV rays reach earth everyday of the year, not just summer.
They can also reflect off cement, water, snow and various surfaces. So, enjoy the sunshine; just remember to be sun smart!